Susanne Beaton, Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation

TITLE: Director of Special Initiatives

FOCUS AREAS: Homelessness, affordable housing, poverty

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Susanne Beaton served as the Fireman Charitable Foundation’s interim director until Deva Hirsh took over that role in May 2015. Today, Beaton is the director of special initiatives at the foundation. She has been the executive director, campaign director, and acting director of One Family, Inc. Beaton has also served on the board of New Lease for Homeless Families.

Beaton was awarded the Mothers of Inspiration’s first Founders’ Award in 2009. According to the press release:

With family homeless numbers on the rise, attention needs to be on prevention and helping mothers and families break the cycle of homelessness. Over the last decade, Sue's exemplary vision and unwavering leadership at One Family and across the state have been instrumental in transforming the state's approach to family homelessness -- from managing the crisis to solving it, said Melinda Marble, One Family Board Member and member of the Founders' team of One Family.

Under both the Romney and Patrick administrations, Sue Beaton has been the representative for homeless families across the state in creating the action plans for change. Sue has been instrumental in creating more flexible and responsive solutions to these families in need; specifically, moving away from a one-size-fits-all system to a regional decentralized system that engages both the public and private sectors to get the right resources to the right people at the right time.

Deborah Fung, former Fireman executive director, made the following statement about Beaton’s approach to philanthropy:

Sue Beaton, my colleague at the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, came up with a radical idea: give families the option to receive a one-time payment of $6,000 in flexible funds instead of ongoing resources to remain in the shelter. Two hundred families opted for the payment. Two years later, 80 percent of these families remained housed outside of the shelter system. The experiment showed that families could use a relatively small amount of money to navigate their way into their own homes when given the chance.